Pandan and Coconut Brioche
Brioche is a French bread made out of eggs and butter. I remember every morning getting a brioche from the neighborhood bakery when I was a student in Paris. It tastes very buttery, slightly sweet and it has a fluffy texture.
I made some pizza today and I had some dry active yeast left. We got some Asian powdered coconut candies from the Asian market and I had a few knick-knacks like pandan paste from the pantry. I haven't baked in a while so I decided to make something original and give a twist to the traditional brioche.
Yields: 42 3/4 tsp dry active yeast
1/3 cup whole milk
4 Tbs sugar, to taste
2 eggs, + 1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp pandan paste
5 1/2 Tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature, + extra for the mold
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup powdered coconut strips, coarsely chopped
2 Tbs Belgian pearl sugar
1 Tbs oil
Warm up the 1/3 cup of milk. Using a thermometer, the temperature should be between 105°F to 120°F.
In a little bowl, place the yeast, add 1 teaspoon of sugar then pour about 4 teaspoons of warm milk. Stir a little so the yeast dissolves and let it rest for 10-20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Sift the salt and flour. Set aside.
Using a handheld mixer, whisk the eggs with the rest of the sugar until you get a pale, yellow colored foam. It'll take about 6-8 minutes. The consistency must be very airy. Add the vanilla extract.
Lightly oil the bowl of your standmixer using a silicone brush. Place the sifted dry ingredients in the bowl. Form a well. Using the dough hook of a standmixer, mix the flour with about 1/2 the amount of eggs. Add the levened yeast and milk mixture. Add the rest of the egg mixture and the softened butter. Finish with the powdered coconut strips and pearl sugar.
Transfer the dough to a marble patisserie board or any clean surface. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth for about 5 minutes. Place in a lightly oiled bowl. Drizzle a little oil on the dough to prevent the dough from drying. Cover with a towel and place the bowl in a warm area. Let the yeast do its magic. You'll get a nice airy dough doubled in volume in about 1 1/2 hours. Do not extend the levening time more than 2 hours.
Slightly coat the brioche molds with a thin layer of butter. Place one ball of dough in each individual brioche mold or 2 dough balls if you use a small loaf pan. Place the brioches in a warm area and let them rest for about 1/2 hour. Shear cut the top of the brioche with 2 cross-shaped incisions if you bake the brioches in the loaf pans.
In a little bowl, stir one egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of water.
Bake the brioches for 5 minutes at 390°F, then lower the temperature to 350°F and bake for another 25 minutes. Open the oven, brush the top of the brioche with the egg wash using a silicone brush. Cook for another 5 minutes. Remove the brioches from the oven. Let the baked goods cool for about 5 minutes. Unmold the brioches and allow to cool down on a cooling rack for about 15-20 minutes.
Slice the brioche using a bread knife.
Sifting dry ingredients helps getting rid of nasty lumps of flour and aerate the mixture when liquid is added. It's very important for all your baking so you get a moist result.
You can find powdered coconut strips or powdered coconut candies in any Asian stores or Asian bakery in downtown San Jose.
Belgian pearl sugar is available in specialy stores and online. Belgian Pearl sugar is a coarse sugar that has a less sweet flavor than regular sugar. The thick lump of sugar keeps its shape and does not melt when it's baked, so you'll still find a sugar crust after the brioche is bakes. I also use the sugar for making rugelach and waffles.
I buy the Koepoe-koepoe pastes. There are rose, mocha and pandan. You can find them in any Asian stores or at VeryAsia.com.
The recipe yields 2 small loaf pans or 4 brioche molds. The rectangular loaf-shaped brioche is called the brioche Nanterre. The other one is called a brioche à tête, it's kind of pear shaped. Poke a vertical hole into the base large ball, then insert a small dough ball into the hole.
UPDATE: I just found out Belgian pearl sugar at Sur La Table. They also carry Swedish pearl sugar which is much more finer.
Published By: on May 28, 2009.
Doesn't it look like a rhinoceros?